Flynn has big challenge in front of him

Ravens notebook

Center faced with blocking Packers' mammoth Brown

Pro Football

October 11, 2001|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Center Mike Flynn will add a new twist to one of his blocking techniques when he faces mammoth Green Bay Packers nose tackle Gilbert Brown on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

Call it, the cut and roll.

"When you cut him, roll away because you don't want him to fall on top of you," Flynn said.

A thought echoed by Ravens coach Brian Billick.

"Like any center, just hold on and pray to God that he doesn't fall on top of you," Billick said. "You've got to battle, and you need some help. You need to try to control him as best you can. Not only is he powerful - but I'm not going to say he's doing it illegally because that never does any good - but he holds on pretty good. He's very good at it. It's going to be a task for him."

Brown, one of the most memorable players during the Packers' back-to-back Super Bowl appearances in the mid-1990s, ate himself out of the league after the 1999 season.

If Flynn does not want Brown to fall on him Sunday, he definitely would not have wanted it to happen last year at this time when Brown weighed more than 400 pounds.

Since then, Brown has lost 70 pounds, received a second chance with the Packers and worked himself back into the starting lineup, reclaiming his reputation as one of the league's best run-stoppers.

According to those following the Packers, he is playing close at the level he was when the Packers were dominating the NFC. Brown recorded 13 tackles in the first four games.

"He's a big part of what they're doing defensively," Billick said. "He's the vogue, put a big body in the middle and jam it up and push it into your linebackers. He's playing like the Gilbert I'm familiar with from my time in Minnesota."

Brown and fellow defensive tackle Santana Dotson have been a major reason why the Packers are first against the run in the NFC [and No. 1 overall in the NFC].

"This is going to be a pretty good challenge for us," Flynn said.

Baxter still idle

Defensive back Gary Baxter's debut is still on hold.

Baxter, the team's second-round draft choice, was slowed during the preseason with a knee injury and has been inactive for all four regular-season games.

"Mentally I'm strong; I've got to stay strong," Baxter said. "I'm not thinking about me being inactive. I've just got to learn and get better each day. I know I'm not on the pace I want to be on, but things happen for a reason. All I can do is work through the struggle right now and get back on pace."

Baxter said his knee, which he sprained in the opening preseason game, is still not 100 percent, though he is practicing. Even when he is completely healthy, Baxter may have a tough time working himself into the lineup with the addition of veteran safety Carnell Lake and the solid play of nickel back James Trapp.

"I have this sense of urgency to show them that I can play this game and that I was a second-round draft pick for a reason," Baxter said. "Even with the numbers thing, all I can do is be ready to play. In football today, you don't know who is going to go down, so I have to prepare myself and let the rest take care of itself."

Et cetera

The Packers signed linebacker Kenny Jackson to their practice squad. Jackson spent training camp with the Ravens and was one of the featured players in Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Baltimore Ravens, the HBO documentary, which followed the team's preseason. ... End Rob Burnett (calf), tight end Todd Heap (ankle), receiver Patrick Johnson (clavicle) guard Edwin Mulitalo (knee), end Michael McCrary (knee) and tackle Tony Siragusa (respiratory) missed practice. Johnson is out for Sunday's game, Burnett is likely to play, and Heap is more doubtful than questionable. Siragusa and Mulitalo may be able to practice tomorrow. ... Running back Terry Allen, not receiver Travis Taylor, was awarded the offensive game ball Sunday. ... Defensive tackle Larry Webster's mind is at ease knowing his brother, who is in the army, has not had to go overseas yet. "Everything is all right," Webster said.

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